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The independent. [volume] (Lincoln, Neb.) 1902-1907, December 18, 1902, Image 15

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Jeremiah W. Jenks, professor of po
litical economy in Cornell university,
discusses "How Congress May Con
trol Trusts'Mn The Outlook of Decem
ber 13. The first is Attorney General
Knox's remedy as outlined in his Pitts
burg speech, October 14, 1902 an ex
tension of the scope; of the Sherman
act, making- corporations engaged in
interstate business subject to "visit
orial supervision" and requiring them
' to do business in every state upon
precisely the same terms and condi
tions. Professor Jenks is not inclined
to take much stock in this plan for
the reason, as he says, "that a law
forbidding discriminations, as well as
one requiring publicity, can be easily
evaded. It is impossible in many cases
, to get evidence. But direct methods
of evasion are also even now em
ployed." "The principle of discrimina
tion in freight rates on railroads,"
says Professor Jenks, "it is generally
concede'd, is evil; but railroads are
natural monopolies. It is useless to
talk of . encouraging competition
among them." On the other hand, the
so-called trusts are industries which
are normally competitive and we wish
to keep them so." Thee was his op
portunity to suggest public ownership
of the natural monopolies as a step
toward solving the problem but he
The second remedy discussed was
that recommended by the industrial
commission in its final report a tax
' on corporations engaged in interstate
commerce. This, Professor Jenks
thinks somewhat better. "The act of
imposing a tax," he says, "shows most
strikingly! the power of a government,
and the 'courts have been inclined,
when a tax is in itself constitutional,
- to give to the executive all the power
needed to enforce the tax."
The third plan is that of national
incorporation. "It seems clear," says
Professor Jenks, "from the best au
thorities that congress could consti
tutionally act in any of the ways indi
cated. Will congress find it wise to
take any action at all?" Hardly like
ly, The Independent is inclined to be
lieve. Anything which would tend to
stop the process of making the rich
richer and the poor poorer will hardly
be considered, "wise" by a republican
congress. Yeit is possible that some
make-believe remedial legislation may
be enacted, simply for political effect.
The tremendous possibilities for
good which lie in the law of eminent
domain are just beginning to be un
derstood. This is a law that cannot
be abrogated and neither can it be
"construed" out of existence by a plutocratic-supreme
court, for no govern
ment at all could exist -without it.
It is the antithesis of the doctrine
that every man has a right to do an he
pleases with his own. regardless of
the public welfare. There is no piece
of property of any description in all
the world to which any man has an
absolute ownership. It is all held sub
ject to the public welfare and this is
provided for, not only in the law of
eminent domain, but in many other
laws, all of which have had the uni
versal sanction of every department
. . . A tii o n i i" n i' o It f,T C O
oi gov cnimeui. umu u no
but he cannot do to it what he wills.
If he is cruel, the law steps In and
savs to him you cannot do with it as
you please. He cannot aesiroy prop
erty although he owns it, for he will
property by the law of every state in
the union. He cannot use property so
as to annoy the public. It he creates
a nuisance the law steps in again and
says to him: "Although you own this
i -operty, you must use it subject to
the public welfare." The ownership
of property is limited in hundreds of
ways in all civilized nauons. iou
may build a house with the labor of
your own hands, but if the public wel
fare demands it, it is torn down and
n hie-hwav is constructed over its site.
The general principle is thoroughly
established that no man, corporation
or combination can so use property as
to be detrimental to the public wel
fare. And furthermore, the principle
is as well established that when the
public welfare demand, it, property
of any kind can be taken from the pri-
vate owner aim me wu uiveaieu m
the public. Nothing in all the field
of law iz more firmly established than
IXlUirJ LWU limine i m uk-Iuiuii;,
courts have universally held lhat
property can be taken from one owner
and transferred to another owner, if
such transfer is for the interest of
the community at large. Tins has been
done to a very great extent in the
United States. If it is to the interest
" of the public that a railroad ehall be
built, lard is taken under this power
Y of eminent domain from one private
4 corporation or individual and con-
I erred upon another.- The principle
has been established that the govern
ment has not only the right to talie
private property and confer the title
to it upon the whole people, or, as we
generally say, government ownerthip,
but It has the right to take property
from one individual oc eorporatish
and place it in another individual or
corporation. It Is upon these funda
mental laws, eommdn to all civilized
governments, that-populists bas their
theory of the government ownership
of railroads, telegraphs, street car
lines, waterworks . and . gas plants.
Whenever the public welfare demands
the transfer of the - title to these
things from private corporations ' or
individuate to the government, tere
stands the. laws of all civilized na
tions ready to sanction it." '
Great Britain, according to the lat
est information, is -about to : make; a
broader application of the law of emi
nent domain than was ever made in all
history before. It Is said that a bill,
will be introduced In parliament which
the government intends to make the
first order of the day until disposed
of, which will under this law take over
frchn the English land holders a very
large part of all Ireland and confer
it upon the present tenants. The
value of the land involved in this
transaction is said to be $750,000,000.
Thi3 is done because the public wel
fare requires it. Ireland has been a
storm center of rebellion and discon
tent ever since the land was taken
from the people and given to favorites
of the English crown. Centuries have
not allayed the constant protest
against it, and under this law of emi
nent domain the wrong is at last to be
The plutocrats of this country are
for the most part Anglophiles. If their
model government can take practical"
1." the whole of Ireland and transfer
the title in small lots to Irish tenants,
they ought; not to talk about anarchy
when the populists propose to trans
fer the title to the railroads and tele
graphs from private corporations to
the government itself.
It seems hardly necessary to remark
that in all cases where property is
taken under the law of eminent do
main, the law itself requires that a
just compensation must be made to
the owners from whom it is taken.
-Public Opinion should beware. The
gold gobble-uns '11 get it 'f it don't
watch out Commenting on the re
cent decline in the price of silver bul
lion it said:
Silver on November 26 reached
the lowest price in its history, the
London quotation on that date
being 27 7-8 pence or 43 3-4 cents
per ounce. At this rate the silver
in a dollar of our coinage is worth
exactly 33.6 cents, a trifle over
one-third of its coinage value,
which is $1.29 per ounce. This
further fall in the price of the
metal is attributed partly to the
payment of the Chinese indemnity
in silver and the suspension of
free coinage at the mints of Siara.
This, together with the decline of
the price of silver at Bombay sev
eral points below the London quo
tations, for the time being com
pletely closes the markets of the
world to the white metal against
which so many crimes have al
ready been committed by the fi
nancial world.
This is certainly treason! "So
many crimes" must, of course, include
the crimes of '73 and '93.
The assembling of the Mad Mullahs
of the republican party at Washington
shows what their ideas about tariff
revision are. and to sum them up they
take the following shape: The tariff
must never be touched in times of
prosperity for that would bring on a
panic and ruin business. The tariff
must never be touched in times of ad
versity for then the government would
need the revenues and good times could
never return without it. That is the
plan that the republicans have adopted
in regard to a tariff that forces Ameri
can citizens to pay 40 per cent more
for goods than the manufacturer sells
them for to foreigners.
The Enplih language is a poor ve
hicle for expressing imperialism. The
president speaks of "rights granted"
to the Filipinos. Neither he. the Am
erican government nor anv other pow
er on earth can grant "rights" to the
Filipinos. "Rights" are inherent, not
granted by any one. Consrress has
granted a few "privileges" to the Fili
pinos, but never any "rights." The
"rights" of the Filipinos exist by na
ture. Thev cannot be granted or tak
en away. That i what Jefferson meant
when he wrote "unaiier.able rights."
i hi mi, p n
A Dresser
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